In partnership with Lutheran World Federation colleagues, CWS team members recently organized two rounds of a 3-day Leadership and Management Training Workshop for members of newly formed Village Development Committees in Maubin Township, where the heart of CWS work in Myanmar is. To start, 18 men and 12 women from Inn Ma Su, Yae Le Gyi, Koe (West), Auk Htone, Bar Ma Nee and Tha Yet Taw villages joined together to learn and share; then 17 men and 8 women from Sit Kone, Inn Tay Su, Sat Pine, Sin Ku Thung and Ma Yan Su villages joined a separate training. Among the 45 people who came together to learn more about how to lead their groups were Committee Chairs, Secretaries, Bookkeepers and general members. Key topics were the basics of the community development and community participation, plus discussions about the idea of good governance and of leadership styles and management ideas and techniques. There was also a detailed review Committee members’ roles and responsibilities, and practical session about meeting facilitation, goal-setting, work planning, activity leadership, monitoring and follow-up.
Since this was a first-time learning-sharing opportunity of this kind for most people, everyone joined enthusiastically in discussions and asked many questions, many of which were answered in conversation with other Committee members. Everyone also had a chance to practice facilitating a meeting and leading a discussion; and, one priority of the training team was to share ways and means to encourage women’s participation is all activities.
In reflecting on her time in one of the training workshops, Daw Wan Wan Lwin from Auk Htone village said, “It is really worth my time to join these sessions because this is the first time for me to learn things like this. [Though I knew the basics of what being a Committee member means], I now understand more of my role and responsibilities as a leader and I feel more confident as a woman leader.” Daw Wan Wan Lwin continued, saying, “Now I will use what I have learned, especially about facilitating meetings, to help Auk Htone organize to create a development plan. I am sure that my fellow Committee members do not think nor feel differently from me.”
NOTE: With just over one-third of these gathered Committee members being women, it is still not typical for women in rural Myanmar to be community leaders – though this is changing with the CWS Integrated Resilience and Development project, and others like it across Myanmar.
Now, 11 Village Development Committees are set to go as verified in the post-workshop survey input which show that everyone was satisfied with the education and training – both process and content. And, as Committee members reach out to their neighbors and other village leaders and duty bearers to ensure quality work to improve water, sanitation and hygiene; mothers’ nutrition awareness and knowledge; young children’s nutritional status; some families livelihoods and everyone’s preparedness for disasters, CWS staff will follow-up regularly with VDC members to help ensure continued self-confidence and results-oriented action to benefit all community members.
(For more information please contact IKhreusirikul@cwsglobal.org )